In a series of interviews with Spectrum Workplace, companies consider the changing requirements of both the business and the employee.
The interviews have been brought together as a report and published by DECISION magazine and then as a digital book.
Interview with MARTIN HELLAWELL CHIEF EXECUTIVE SOFTCAT PLC
The company provides quiet spaces where people can go to relax or snuggle up in bean bags or play video games. There are facilities for playing ‘walking football’, table tennis and pool. Every day, before and after working hours, music is played in the building, with staff taking turns to create a play-list.
There is also a focus on well being, with staff getting subsidised rates at the local gym, having access to free fruit and subsidised food – and being encouraged to take lunch breaks. “A lot of organisations seem to frown on people taking their full break but we encourage it,” Hellawell says. “I want them to do something relatively healthy at lunchtime. I think that’s good for productivity in the long term.”
“The physical environment also plays a part in employee satisfaction. We want to be seen as vibrant and dynamic and we want people to be engaged and motivated, and the workplace needs to reflect and facilitate all that. To me a good physical environment is an important part of the mix but it is not an end in itself. And is nowhere near as important as the people.”
Staff benefits include regular barbecues in the summer, complete with steel bands, and a free bar every Friday night after work. Then there are foreign holidays as rewards for special achievements, and not just for sales staff.
Softcat provide stand-up desks, both for general use and specifically for the use of people with bad backs. “We’re probably not gold standard in terms of ergonomics but we do give training in correct posture,” says Hellawell.